High energy bill in December? AC Unit turns on when heat on?


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Old 12-17-09, 05:01 PM
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High energy bill in December? AC Unit turns on when heat on?

I got an electric bill today that is twice what it was last year at this time. Had the same issue in October almost but not quite. November wasn't too bad but higher than last year.

So I investigated. Checked the meter today and it was running kind of fast. went inside and turned off anything not necessary. no change. Made sure all 3 heating units were off. Voila! slowed down. Turned 1 on at a time. no change until I turned on our basement heat. Why would that cause a spike in electricity?

Well, come to find that the fan on the AC unit outside kicks on when the heater turns on. Not sure if compressor is on too but definitely causes that meter to run faster.

What would cause the outside unit to turn on when the heat turns on? Ideas?

-brian
 
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Old 12-17-09, 05:15 PM
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What would cause the outside unit to turn on when the heat turns on? Ideas?
Are you sure you don't have a heat pump?
 
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Old 12-17-09, 07:43 PM
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Well, it is a Rheem unit which has an outside unit and an unside unit. The inside unit has the gas line to it with filter and fan. Outside unit seems to be a typical condensor unit. I do not know much about AC/Heat units, but that deosn't seem like a heat pump
 
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Old 12-18-09, 04:43 AM
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Post M# of indoor and outdoor units
 
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Old 12-18-09, 07:52 AM
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The inside unit has the gas line to it
So how is your gas bill compared to last year? Are the outside temperatures you have been having about the same or has it been colder this year, more below 40 days?
 
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Old 12-18-09, 08:08 AM
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When you call for heat, as the unit outside runs, does the gas burner fire off?


Chances are you have a heat pump.

Give us a model # on your outdoor unit, and may not hurt to post the furnace as well.
 
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Old 12-18-09, 01:30 PM
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Unless the system has been replaced between this year and last, I don't think it would be a heat pump. Especially if there is a gas line running to it.

I suspect possibly a problem with the thermostat for the basement zone. Has that been recently changed? Check that the wiring is correct if it has. Is it the type that will automatically switch from heating to cooling based on temperature? It may be on the fritz. You double check the thermostat by switching it with one from elsewhere in the house to see if it behaves the same.

If it's definitely not a heat pump, then you need to shut that compressor off until you have it fixed. Running it when it is cold outside is not good for the unit. You can shut it off by turning off the breaker in the house. The should also be one outside if you cannot locate the interior one.
 

Last edited by drooplug; 12-18-09 at 01:34 PM. Reason: had more to add
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Old 12-18-09, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047
So how is your gas bill compared to last year? Are the outside temperatures you have been having about the same or has it been colder this year, more below 40 days?
Gas bill is about the same as last year. I am used to electric bill going down. But it is higher than July and August.
 
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Old 12-18-09, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
Unless the system has been replaced between this year and last, I don't think it would be a heat pump. Especially if there is a gas line running to it.

I suspect possibly a problem with the thermostat for the basement zone. Has that been recently changed? Check that the wiring is correct if it has. Is it the type that will automatically switch from heating to cooling based on temperature? It may be on the fritz. You double check the thermostat by switching it with one from elsewhere in the house to see if it behaves the same.

If it's definitely not a heat pump, then you need to shut that compressor off until you have it fixed. Running it when it is cold outside is not good for the unit. You can shut it off by turning off the breaker in the house. The should also be one outside if you cannot locate the interior one.
Thanks, I was thinking the same. I took that thermostat off about 6 months ago during a remodel job. since that time, the light on it never goes off while our others in the house only comes on when a button is hit. I will check the wiring on it. It is the type that you have to tell it whether you want heat or cold. I could set to auto but I don't.

I should say that I didn't take the thermostat off. I just unscrewed it from the wall so I could paint behind it. I did not disconnect any wiring.

I just shut off the breaker and the outside unit did shut off. That will hold me until I can figure it out.
 
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Old 12-18-09, 10:14 PM
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I am now suspecting this is a heat pump now that I take a closer look. Nothing says it is a heat pump but I do not see a gas line (i thought the copper tubing was gas before but realize now it is not. Also, the amount of heat it produces is really poor.

So now I am confused because I do not know about heat pumps at all and why does this one suddenly suck up the voltage causing me electrical bill to skyrocket? Maybe because it runs all the time and not producing heat?
 
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Old 12-19-09, 05:29 AM
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Do you have a model # on both equipments, and we can find out for you what you have.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 06:54 AM
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Do all the zones turn the outside unit on when they call for heat? If they do, it probably is a heat pump.

The electric bills would go up with a heat pump if it is using the auxiliary heat which is electric heating coils. Heat pumps do not generate enough heat for the home when the outside temperatures get below a certain point.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 01:00 PM
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Doesn't the stat itself give give tip-off by saying aux. heat on it or something to that effect? I have seen some HP stats that light up a red dot on the stat when aux. heat comes on.

He could also have a problem with the outside unit not reversing, or other things with that unit out there. Or dirty coils inside or out. I think HP problems are kind of out of the league for most DIY'ers unless they are common sense handy and can find something specific like clogged coils, an inside unit bad motor or capacitor, burned out coil or some part that can be readily diagnosed and replaced. If refrigerant gets low, you can have coils even ice over. The unit will run and run all for nothing, wasting energy, and maybe have aux.heat come on when normally it would not have to.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 01:55 PM
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I experimented more today. I also took down the model numbers although I don't know the manufacturer. There is a manual in the sleeve on the inside unit but that is the manual to the Rheem gas furnace sitting right next to it.

Outside model #: BRHS0241BD
Inside model #: F2RP024H06B

First, it does not run all the time. It doesn't blow very hot air but it blows warm enough air to reach the temp and shuts off. I cranked it up to 78 and aux must have kicked in because I could smell the burn of dust on some hot coils or ducts. It seems to work fine in general.

But worried about power consumption. this is the same unit as last year and we didn't have such high electric bills. I have to believe this is not the only cause but I don't know anything else that runs in the winter in the house that is causing excessive bills.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 03:29 PM
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Those numbers don't match the Rheem.. it shows me it's York brand... Get the model # off the unit itsef.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 03:56 PM
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Is it a heat pump or not? Why is there a gas furnace if you have a heat pump? You really haven't been answering all the questions being asked. Does hat outside unit come on when the other 2 zones call for heat?
 
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Old 12-19-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
Why is there a gas furnace if you have a heat pump?
Why not? Gas can be used with Heat Pump system.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 04:27 PM
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It just seems to defeat the point of having a heat pump. Might as well just use the furnace for heat.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 04:29 PM
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Gas may be a moot point. OP wrote:
I do not see a gas line (i thought the copper tubing was gas before but realize now it is not.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bsenright
There is a manual in the sleeve on the inside unit but that is the manual to the Rheem gas furnace sitting right next to it.
He also wrote this after the post you quoted. The information is very unclear.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
It just seems to defeat the point of having a heat pump. Might as well just use the furnace for heat.
No, Gas is used often around here as back up heat in area that area that has colder winters. Say for an example, in my home, my system is a two ton. 24,000 can't keep up once the temp gets down around 20˚ (balance point), so HP is locked out, then gas takes over.

Gas is cheaper the electric, so no point of having all electric back up heat.
 
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Old 12-19-09, 08:39 PM
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But what about just having all gas heat all the time? Are the energy savings worth the extra cost in equip?
 
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Old 12-20-09, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
But what about just having all gas heat all the time? Are the energy savings worth the extra cost in equip?
Right now, maybe having all gas is cheaper since price of gas has gone down.. If you asked last year and two winters ago, HP would of been far cheaper to have, LP gas price was very high, my parents were ready to get a HP, but gas has come down a lot this year, so they are going to wait off on HP till next year.

Past two winters HP was hot selling cuz of high gas price!
 
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Old 12-20-09, 11:43 AM
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Old 12-20-09, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Houston204
Looks like a heatpump..
]
Well, he said he had a Ruud furnace...
 
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Old 12-20-09, 12:41 PM
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That's not a ruud gas furnace. It's a York (evcon coleman)heatpump with an air handler.
 
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Old 12-21-09, 12:08 PM
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Hmmm. I must not be making myself clear. As I mentioned in my last post, I investigated further. It is not a Rheem as I had thought earlier. it just happened that a Rheem manual was in the sleeve of this unit but that manual belonged to the gas furnace next to this heat pump unit. The model numbers I listed are from the inside and outside units themselves of the heatpump.

There is no gas line to this heatpump. I saw the copper line and realize now it probably is not a gas line.

any help on why this unit works, but seems to really suck the electicity would be very appreciated.
 
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Old 12-21-09, 01:49 PM
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It sounds like the OP has three separate heating systems in his house, and two of them appear to be gas, with a heat pump system with electric backup heat serving the basement. That being the case, it's normal for the electric usage to be higher in the winter when the basement is being heated and the heat pump/strip elements are on.

Why this year's bill is higher than last year is unknown. Did you heat the basement to the same temperature last year as this year? Have you had your heatpump (as well as the other furnace/AC units) regularily serviced? Perhaps the heatpump is low on refrigerant and as a result, not heating sufficiently, requiring more backup heat than usual. Heat pumps, since they run many more hours a year than a straight A/C system, will require more maintenance than an A/C system. Having all of your systems checked twice annually by a qualified tech would be recommended.
 
 

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